From relaxed-fit boyfriend jeans to oversized bomber jackets, women’s fashion taking design cues from menswear is no longer a new phenomenon. This trend can be traced back to the 1920s, when Gabrielle (or Coco, as she is better known) Chanel became one of the forward-thinking designers to incorporate traditionally male stylistic elements into her ready-to-wear collections.
In a departure from voluminous dresses with cinched waists popular at the time, Chanel presented jackets and pants in relaxed silhouettes. Notably, the fashion house also introduced jersey, a material more often used for male underwear at the time, into women’s apparel. Though several decades have elapsed since, the label’s penchant for borrowing from the boys continues to pervade its creations — including timekeepers.
A classic example: Its Boy.Friend collection that was launched in 2015 as an extension of the Première line, the maison’s first women’s wristwatch from 1987. Like the Première, it features an octagonal case that pays tribute to the legendary Chanel N°5 perfume bottle stopper and the aerial layout of Place Vendôme in Paris. But while most Première models are delicate and dainty, the Boy.Friend is markedly heftier and exhibits a more androgynous aesthetic. It now comes in three sizes: Large (37mm by 28.6mm); medium, (34.6mm by 26.7mm); and small (27.9mm by 21.5mm).
One of the first editions of the Boy.Friend came in 18k beige or white gold, with a manual winding mechanical movement that packed a small seconds complication — it’s displayed via a counter at the six o’clock position on an opaline dial. Completing the look were an onyx cabochon nestled on its crown and a semi-matt Mississippiensis alligator strap. A variant with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds of about 0.92ct on its bezel and another 48 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.28ct) on its buckle was also made available.
Last year, Chanel further expanded the Boy.Friend range with models such as Boy.Friend Paved, which referenced the pavement of Place Vendôme and showcased a dial completely set with diamonds; and Boy.Friend Arty, with dials entirely covered in a tessellation of sparkling gems.
More recently, the brand has turned out two new editions: Boy.Friend Steel and Boy.friend Tweed. Powered by a high-precision quartz movement, the Boy.Friend Steel sports a sleek black guilloche dial and offers an additional date function in its medium-sized variant. The smaller version, on the other hand, comes with 62 brilliant-cut diamonds of nearly 0.37ct set on the bezel. To finish the look is a steel crown topped with a single black spinel cabochon.
Paying homage to Chanel’s signature fabric is the Boy.friend Tweed, which is fitted with a Milanese steel strap that evokes the tweed-like pattern. The result of several months of development, this bracelet-strap is woven with steel wires that have been stamped with the tweed motif. A braided trim that recalls the detailing on the label’s iconic jackets is also found on the edges of the strap. Presented with a jet-black guilloche dial, this model comes in small, medium and large sizes. Unlike the earlier version of the Tweed, which had a classic steel strap, its black bracelet-strap oozes an urbane vibe.
Why should boys have all the fun, right?